Mokes at Lanikai Beach, Photo by Philip Davis on Unsplash

Mokes at Lanikai Beach, Photo by Philip Davis on Unsplash

Lanikai Beach Travel Guide

Jennifer Fields

Just a short drive from Kailua is Lanikai Beach. Although on the same stretch of shore as Kailua, Lanikai has a completely different feel. The beach has a few public access points, but no parking lot, making it a bit more remote. 

As you step onto the sand at Lanikai you’ll see two small islands in the distance. These are referred to the mokes, short for N? Mokulua, which means “the two islands” in Hawaiian. Some people also call them twin islands. 

Located 0.75 miles off Lanikai, both mokes are Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuaries. If you’re planning on kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding while you’re there, you can do so to the larger moke, but certain areas of this island are off limits. Please be respectful of the restrictions and the wildlife that reside there. Want to kayak but don’t want to venture out by yourself? Kailua Beach Adventures offers guided kayaking excursions to the mokes. 

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Mokes at Lanikai Beach | Photo by Philip Davis on Unsplash


There is NO public parking at Lanikai Beach and parking laws are strictly enforced in this quiet, residential neighborhood. If you want to visit Lanikai we highly recommend visiting on a weekday and arriving early. 

Tips for your Trip

  • Bring snacks and water: There are no concessions on or near Lanikai Beach. Just remember to take your trash with you. There are no bins at this beach. 
  • Wear sunscreen: There are very few shaded areas at this spot. 
  • Snorkel gear is optional: The water at Lanikai is calm and clear. There’s no reef so you might not see that many fish — but why not have a look?

Walkway to Lanikai Beach | Photo by ????, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pro Tip! If you want to see this secluded spot from a distance, check out the Lanikai Pill Box hike. Also known as Kaiwa Ridge Trail, this hike is just under two miles round trip and is considered moderate; it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to complete. The trail has steep, rocky inclines and narrow walkways, but when you reach the top you’ll have unobstructed views of Kailua and Lanikai. 

RELATED: Oahu Hikes that Give Haiku Stairs a Run for Its Money

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RELATED: Kailua Travel Guide and 10 Ways to Be a Safe and Responsible Traveler in Hawaii

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